Programme Description: The AGenT (Agricultural Genomics Transversal) postdoctoral programme is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND Programme (H2020 Grant Agreement No. 945043) at the Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG; Barcelona).

AGenT is an ambitious research and training initiative designed to conduct multidisciplinary and intersectoral research projects at CRAG in conjunction with associated partner organizations (private companies, research centers and academic institutions), both national and international.

The programme offers twenty (20) two-year postdoctoral fellowships in four calls and is focused on: training both in specific research areas and in transferable and transversal skills; secondments and research collaborations; and networking activities in both the academic and the industrial sectors; all in order to enrich the training of the fellows and enhance their professional development while conducting projects of research excellence.

AGenT is an international, interdisciplinary, and intersectoral programme that can be summarized as an orthogonal grid that combines the four scientific programmes at CRAG (Plant Development and Signal Transduction; Plant Responses to Stress; Plant Metabolism and Metabolic Engineering; and Plant and Animal Genomics) with three priority lines that are specifically supported by the three different types of partner organizations of the AGenT programme. These are:

  1. Collaborative international projects of research excellence. Partner institutions include many of the best research Centers in plant sciences in Europe: Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ, Germany); John Innes Center (JIC, UK); National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA, France); Umeå Plant Science Center (UPSC, Sweden); The Sainsbury Laboratory at Cambridge University (SLCU, UK), and Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology, Academia Sinica (IPMB, Taiwan).
  2. Application of frontier technologies to plant science research and development (e.g., advanced materials, nanosciences, and photonics). Partner organizations are: Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO, Barcelona); Catalan Institute of Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies (ICN2, Barcelona); Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB), and Center for Research in Mathematics (CRM, Barcelona), all of which are also “Severo Ochoa” programme Centers of Excellence.
  3. From research to products. Partner organizations are private companies: Rijk Zwaan (RZ); Fitó Seeds; Sequentia Biotech; Vytrus Biotech; OpenNatur; and Enlighting Technologies (ET).

The AGenT programme will improve career prospects for plant and farm animal researchers in Europe; contribute to the training of future leaders in the areas of plant and agricultural sciences; support research of excellence and boost the research capacity and international visibility of CRAG and its collaborating institutions; and support advancing research in topics of high social impact and of importance for the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Addressing many of the challenges that human societies will face in coming decades (e.g., climate change and increased weather variability and their consequences; the increasing demand on agricultural products and natural resources -food, feed, and fibre- at the global scale; agricultural sustainability; or the preservation of the ecosystems on which societies depend, to name a few) will crucially depend on plant research at multiple levels.

The AGenT Postdoctoral Programme has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie (Grant Agreement No. 945043) and will be co-funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation through the “Severo Ochoa” Centres of Excellence and “Maria de Maeztu” Excellence Units Programme 2019 (Project No. CEX2019-000902-S).

What we offer

Training on research skills

AGenT fellows will receive hands-on training on additional research-related skills and they will have also available a variety of scientific activities including weekly group meetings, CRAG seminars with external speakers, outreach events and internal institute talks and retreats, where CRAG scientists present their research (a valuable source of information about the different research lines and programmes carried out at the Center).

The host groups will provide an optimal environment to develop the scientific and leadership skills encouraging fellows to acquire leader roles in new grant applications and research, to co-supervise the training of new graduate students and collaborate in teaching activities, and to participate in dissemination of results at national and international meetings.

Finally, the international character of the Center, with research collaborations with top research groups between EU and non-EU countries, will expand their scientific network in an international environment.

In addition, specific courses on research-related topics of relevance are regularly offered at CRAG, either by the Center´s technical personnel (for example, the Bioinformatics Unit, or the Confocal Microscopy facility), or by external providers.

Support and additional training in non-research oriented transferable skills

This programme is focused on training future research leaders to be able to manage and lead their own research group. To succeed in this new role, researchers need to be excellent in science but also need to be best at their soft and transversal skills. AGenT fellows will play an active role in managing their research project, with the supervision and support of their corresponding Group Leader, having in most cases a first experience in Project management that will help them in their future career as PIs.

Currently at CRAG, postdoctoral researchers are receiving training on career development, scientific writing skills and intellectual property. This training will be enhanced and complementary training will be organized for researchers involved in AGenT Project.

Monitoring and guidance of career development

Monitoring and guidance of career development is an inherent part of mentoring early-career scientists. Fellows hired under the AGenT programme will carry out their project in a Research Group, under the guidance and supervision of the corresponding Group Leader. The Group Leader is the main supervisor of the fellow and s/he will logically be the first supporter for the Fellow in the next step in her/his career.

It is therefore expected that a strong scientific and professional link between the Fellow and the Group Leader will be established and reinforced, both throughout the stay of the fellow at CRAG and beyond, enabling future research collaborations. In addition to the Group Leader, AGenT postdoctoral fellows will have the option (voluntarily) of having an additional Mentor.

An additional level of guidance and monitoring will be provided to the AGenT fellows through the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of CRAG. AGenT fellows will have the opportunity to meet and discuss with the SAB during its yearly visit.

Short stays

As part of the AGenT fellows’ training in research-related skills, secondments to partner organizations (or additional institutions) will be available with a view to help the fellows grow their network of contacts and acquire relevant experience.

Appointment conditions of researchers

  • 2-year full time employment contract (Gross Salary approx. 35,300€/year)
  • Family allowance: 100 Euro/month. The family status of a researcher will be determined at the date of deadline of the call and will be revised during the lifetime of the action only if fellows change their status in terms of dependent children.
  • Relocation allowance: a single payment of 1,992 Euros at the beginning of the appointment for researchers with residence out of the Barcelona area at the time of signing the AGenT contract (the 1,992€ is the total amount, taxes will be deducted depending on the personal situation of each AGenT fellow).

Who can apply

All applicants fulfilling the eligibility criteria at the time of the call deadline can apply to this programme.

CRAG is committed to the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers, and has received the ‘Human Resources Excellence in Research’ award from the European Commission.

CRAG is an equal opportunity / affirmative action employer and always encourages women and underrepresented minorities to apply. No restrictions on gender, age, ethnic groups, national or social origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, language, disability, political opinion, and social or economic conditions apply to CRAG positions.

Eligibility criteria

The eligibility criteria must be fulfilled at the time of the call deadline. If it becomes clear before, during or after the evaluation phase that one or more of the eligibility criteria have not been fulfilled, the proposal will be declared ineligible and it will be withdrawn:

Applicants must be Recognised Researchers (R2), based on the research profile descriptors of the European Commission, i.e. researchers who hold a doctorate degree (PhD) but have not yet established a significant level of independence. Recognised Researchers must be in possession of a PhD or have accumulated at least 4 years of full time equivalent postgraduate research experience prior to the call deadline.

Applicants are eligible for a period of 5 years following successful completion of their PhD at the date of the call deadline*. Exceptions to the 5-year rule are allowed for applicants whose academic career has been interrupted for parental leave, for industrial job experience, or other special circumstances such as mandatory military service or illness. These circumstances will be indicated in the application form in the field «Additional Notes» and must be documented. Extensions will be up to one year per child in case of parental leave and up to two years for industrial breaks. The extension in the case of illness or mandatory military service will depend on its duration.

Applicants must not have resided or carried out her/his main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Spain for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the call deadline.  Short stays, such as holidays, will not be considered. Exceptions to the mobility rule will be considered in duly justified cases, like for researchers undergoing a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention.

Researchers from any nationality may apply.


  • Publication of the fourth call: first week of July 2023
  • Deadline fourth call: August 27th, 2023
  • Evaluation and Selection: September 4th – October 8th, 2023
  • Expected publication of results: October 16th, 2023
  • Fellowships start date: January 2024

Application process:

Applications should be submitted through CRAGjobs (it requires generating a password-protected user account). The application must be complete and include all obligatory information and documents.

As applicant you will have to provide the following information via CRAGjobs (templates for some of the documents requested are available at Call Documents & Templates below):

  1. Cover letter, introducing yourself and highlighting the most relevant aspects of your CV;
  2. Curriculum Vitae;
  3. PhD certificate or official notification of the award (if applicable);
  4. Documents accrediting research activities counting towards the total full-time postgraduate research experience (if applicable);
  5. Statement of Research interests, including a short proposal of a prospective research project to be carried out at CRAG in collaboration with a Partner Organization. You have to indicate the Host group of your interest and the corresponding Principal Investigator (as applicant you are required to include elements of interdisciplinarity, cross-sectoral and/or international mobility in their research proposal);
  6. Mobility Declaration;
  7. Ethics Declaration, indicating any ethical issue related to their project.

In addition, as applicant you must ensure the submission of at least two reference letters from scientists with whom you have studied or worked. Letters should be sent directly by the referees to, and should also be received by the application deadline.

Instructions about how to write a letter of reference to support a candidate is available at Call Documents & Templates below. The letters must be as informative as possible and should refer clearly and objectively to the professional, technical and academic abilities of the candidate.

Call Documents & Templates:

Guide for applicants (.pdf)

Statement of research (.pdf)

Statement of research (.doc)

CV Template (.pdf)

CV Template (.doc)

Mobility Declaration (.doc)

Mobility Declaration (.pdf)

Ethics self-assessment (.pdf)

Ethics self-assessment (.doc)

Guidance: How to complete your ethics self-assessment (.pdf)

Reference letter (.pdf)

Reference letter (.doc)

Redress (.pdf)

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